You might not realise that your home is filled with too much humidity, but this can be the reality.
High humidity basically means that there’s too much moisture in the air.
How do you measure the humidity in your home?
You can do a DIY test by putting ice cubes in a glass and seeing if any condensation occurs, but a hygrometer is a more accurate tool.
If you have high humidity in your home, It’s not something you should take lightly. Too much moisture in the air can have harmful consequences, for your health as well as for your home and possessions.
Let’s explore everything you need to know about high levels of humidity.
What Causes High Humidity?
If you suspect you have high humidity in the home, you might wonder what caused it.
Common reasons for high humidity include the following:
- A lack of ventilation in the home.
- Rising damp.
- Recent renovations, which have resulted in materials such as cement not drying properly.
- You live in a humid area, at the coast, or in a region that experiences a lot of rainfall.
- You’re exposing your home to a lot of heat or moisture, such as by taking very hot showers, not airing out your home after cooking, boiling water in the kettle, and/or using gas heaters without proper ventilation. Whenever you burn gas, you produce water vapour in the air.
Signs Your Home Has High Humidity
Earlier, we mentioned that you can use a hygrometer to measure how much humidity is in your home. Bear in mind that a safe and healthy level of humidity should be between 40 and 60 percent.
We also mentioned a test you can do for the humidity in your home – put three ice cubes in a glass and leave it on a surface, such as a table, for a few minutes and see if condensation forms on the outside of the glass.
If it does, then that’s a sign there’s too much humidity in your home.
There are also common symptoms that you can keep an eye out for which signify that your home has high humidity.
- Water marks. If you notice any water marks or stains on your walls and/or ceilings, this is a clear sign that your home has a moisture problem – and possibly a leak or broken pipe.
- If you see mould starting to grow in your home, such as on your walls and ceilings, this points to lots of humidity being present in the home. You’re likely to find mould in the bathroom, as this room of the house is particularly susceptible to humidity. You might not see the mould, but if you smell something musty this could be a sign of mould taking root in your carpets, walls, ducts, or ceilings.
- Window condensation. Have you ever seen your windows fogging up? This means that the room has too much moisture. It can happen if you’re using a humidifier too much. The danger of water vapour on the glass is that it can lead to the wooden casings rotting and it also encourages mould to grow.
- Lots of dust mites. If your home has lots of dust mites that are driving you crazy, this could be as a result of high levels of humidity. This is because dust mites thrive in humid conditions as they absorb moisture from the air. Dust mites can also lead to allergies, affecting your health. If you battle with allergy symptoms such as sneezing, an itchy throat or skin, a runny or stuffy nose, then they could point to your house having lots of dust mites in it.
- Sleep problems. Have you been battling to get enough sleep? If your home has too much humidity, this can disrupt your sleep. This is because of how high humidity levels can cause moisture to stay on your skin, so you feel uncomfortable. When you remove the covers during the night to get relief, you might feel that the water vapour has cooled down and left you cold. It’s a frustrating cycle that can cause you to battle to get uninterrupted sleep. However, your sleep can also be disrupted by allergy symptoms, such as congestion, that can be caused by high humidity.
Why High Humidity Can Be Dangerous
High Humidity Affects Your Health
When our bodies are exposed to heat, our skin sweats as a way to cool us down and regulate our internal temperature.
If there’s too much moisture in the air, the sweat cannot evaporate, and this makes us feel hot and uncomfortable.
Our bodies need to put in more effort to try to cool us down, and this can increase our blood circulation rate, our respiration, and how much we sweat. The problem with too much sweating is that it depletes us of water and chemicals we need.
This can lead to lethargy, over-heating, dehydration, heat stroke, fainting, heat exhaustion, muscle cramps, and fatigue.
Another risk to human health from high humidity is the increase of mould. Both mould and mildew flourish when environments are hot and humid. If your home is experiencing too much moisture in the air, then mould will thrive.
It’s dangerous to your house because mould can spread on the walls and floor, causing problems in the home’s structures.
If you are exposed to mould, this can cause many health problems, such as throat irritation, coughing, congestion, respiratory issues, and asthma.
Some people tend to be more susceptible to the negative effects of mould than others. If you already have a respiratory condition, mould in the home can cause your symptoms to become worse.
High Humidity Increases Pollutants
If your home contains high humidity, any pollutants that are in the air can become more dangerous.
For example, building materials that contain harmful toxins such as formaldehyde will release more of it in a humid environment. Similarly, dust mites thrive in a hot, humid environment.
It’s therefore important to try to combat air pollutants with an air purifier and make sure you change your HVAC filter at least once a month so that the pollutants can be eliminated.
While these solutions are important, it’s obviously still better to get to the source of the problem and prevent your home’s indoor air from containing too much humidity.
High Humidity Damages Your Furniture
If you have furniture in a room of the home that’s susceptible to high levels of humidity, it can get seriously damaged. Wooden furniture is especially prone to damage from humidity.
For wood specifically, it tends to expand in humid environments, and this causes it to crack. Once humidity has damaged a piece of furniture, it’s usually impossible to bring those pieces back to life.
Your other wooden items are also at risk of being damaged by high levels of humidity – musical instruments, such as your piano or guitar, are mainly made of wood and therefore susceptible to damage.
High Humidity Damages Your Electronics
Condensation occurs when warm air comes into contact with something cool. High levels of humidity can result in condensation forming inside electrical components of electronics, which can cause corrosion and rust.
High Humidity Can Make You Spend More Money
You might wonder how humidity can affect your wallet, but consider this: if your home is too humid, you will feel like your indoor temperature is a lot higher than it actually is.
To help you cool down, you will probably use your air conditioner more, which will result in more costs on your energy bill every month.
You will also end up having to spend money on replacing furniture or electronics that have been damaged by high levels of moisture in the air.
How Can You Lower Your Home’s Humidity?
Luckily, there are ways in which you can decrease your home’s humidity.
Start Using A Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier helps you to decrease your home’s humidity to a more acceptable and healthy level. These appliances work to draw in warm, humid air and then remove its moisture so that the air which returns into your home is dry and cool.
When using a dehumidifier, however, it’s important to monitor the levels of humidity in the home regularly. If you allow the indoor air to become too dry, using a dehumidifier can result in other problems, including health issues.
For example, if you have pneumonia, air that’s too dry can make your condition worse.
Stop Drying Laundry Inside
When you leave wet laundry in the home, this can contribute to the moisture in the air. To prevent this from happening, you should start drying laundry outside, such as on a clothesline or clothes horse.
Repair Leaky Pipes
If your home has pipes that are leaking, this can contribute to moisture, resulting in condensation forming and leaving signs of damp, such as on the walls.
Make sure you fix any leaking pipes and faucets. If you have exposed pipes, make sure you cover them in insulation to keep moisture at bay.
Improve Your Home’s Ventilation
There are some rooms in the home that are very susceptible to the effects of higher humidity – namely, the kitchen and bathroom – because they experience lots of heat and steam on a regular basis, such as when you cook meals or shower.
So, make sure you have enough ventilation in these rooms of the home. You can do this in easy ways, such as by opening a window while you shower and leaving the bathroom door open afterwards.
In the kitchen, you should keep a window or door open while you cook.
The attic is another area in the home that can become humid, because the air in it doesn’t circulate properly. A solution to this problem is to make use of fans.
Exhaust fans can also help to remove moisture in the home. How this work is by drawing out hot and humid air and enabling fresh air to enter the room from somewhere else, such as via a window or doorway.
The warm air that is removed from the home will be sent outside.
Don’t Have Too Many Indoor Plants
Avoid putting too many plants inside, especially if they’re bundled together in one of the rooms in the home.
This is because plants absorb water from the soil via their roots and then the moisture gets released back into the air via the plant’s stomata, which are small pores on the plant’s leaves.
Is Your Air Conditioner Contributing To Your Home’s Humidity?
If you’re using an air conditioner to reduce your home’s humidity, this could actually be causing it to happen.
The problem is that running your air conditioner fan all the time results in its evaporator cooling coil going on and off to ensure you maintain the same temperature in your home.
When this coil becomes cold, it dehumidifies the air when water vapour in the air forms condensation on it. Now, if the fan remains on when the cooling turns off, the fan will send that vapour back into your home!
To prevent this from happening, make sure that the fan only works at low speeds.
Should you install carpets to reduce humidity?
While you might think carpets will absorb humidity, it’s not advisable to install them in the home. This is because carpets are hotspots for dust, mould, and mildew.
How does humidity affect your hair?
Humidity can make your hair frizz because water vapour contains hydrogen. When hydrogen forms between water and protein molecules in your hair, it makes the individual strands increase in size and become frizzy.
If your home has high levels of humidity, this can cause various problems. Not only is it bad for your health but it can also cause problems in your home.
In this article, we’ve looked at all the dangers associated with high humidity and what you can do to combat the problem so you can start breathing in healthier air.